IOWA Magazine | 03-11-2024

Meet Iowa Basketball Freshman Phenom Owen Freeman

3 minute read
Freeman, a 6-foot-10 big man, is a rising star for the Hawkeye men’s basketball team.
ALT PHOTO: STEPHEN MALLY/HAWKEYESPORTS.COM Iowa's Owen Freeman earned one of several Big Ten Freshman of the Week awards this season following a home game against Maryland in which he made 14 points and nine rebounds.

Owen Freeman has made an instant impact this season for Iowa men’s basketball, and the rest of the Big Ten Conference has taken notice.

Freeman, a freshman forward from Illinois, has been named Big Ten Freshman of the Week nine times this season—the most since Ohio State’s Jared Sullinger won 12 first-year awards during the 2010–11 season. Freeman was also named Co-Big Ten Freshman of the Year, which was last won by a Hawkeye in 1994, when Jess Settles (98BA, 05MA) won the award.

“For a freshman, he’s been really special,” says Fran McCaffery, Iowa’s head men’s basketball coach. “When I put him in the lineup, I can expect him to do good things, and he impacts the game—on both ends of the floor—in really positive ways.”

Freeman has averaged just over 10 points per game during the regular season—with a season-high 22 points coming in a January win over Nebraska. We caught up with Freeman, a sport and recreation management major, to learn more about him and how his first year has gone at Iowa.

Both your parents were All-American basketball student-athletes at Olivet Nazarene University in Illinois. What did you learn from them about basketball?

They taught me everything I know. Because of them, I had a basketball in my hands for as long as I can remember. They built my foundation, helped me gain the basic fundamentals, and guided me as I developed the mindset I needed to have as a college basketball player. It’s a mindset that I have to come ready to work, learn, and grow—and do that every day.

How have you grown during your freshman year as a Hawkeye?

I really feel like I’ve gotten more comfortable on the court. It took a while for me to adjust to the speed of the game, but now it’s just a game. The physicality was also an adjustment. I learned that I’m playing against grown men, and I need to battle night in and night out. This is the first time I’ve ever competed against bigger, older guys, so my mindset had to change a bit. I had to be ready to go right away.

What have been your favorite moments as a Hawkeye?

My favorite moment was when Tony Perkins hit the game winner at home against Wisconsin. It was fun to celebrate with the team and enjoy that the hard work is really paying off. The Wisconsin game was really good for me too, but our home win versus Nebraska, everything really clicked for me. It was all through God—all credit to him.

When the season is over, what are your summer plans?

I’ll be getting in the gym and working on my jump shot so that I can stretch the defense better. I also want to add some weight and get stronger. I’m about 225 pounds right now, but I want to get to about 240 next year. I want to be explosive and quick enough to run the floor, but I also need to gain some muscle.

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